A woman is lucky to be alive after she was stranded for five days in thick Australian bushland and managed to survive on some candy and a bottle of wine, police said.
The incident occurred when the 48-year-old woman identified by the Wodonga Police only as Lillian — was making a journey to Bright, Australia, for a short vacation. When she didn’t make her daily call to check in with loved ones on April 30, they were able to raise the alarm to authorities that something was wrong.
Police immediately began to search for the missing woman in the areas of Mitta Mitta, Wodonga, Bright and Albury — all approximately 200 miles northeast of Melbourne and about 40 miles away from the nearest town — but were unable to find any sign of Lillian for five days.
There was a break in the case last Friday when the police Air Wing from Wodonga Police were conducting a sweep of the hilly terrain in the area, as they managed to spot Lillian’s car at the end of a dirt road in the Mitta Mitta bushland, police said.
“Lillian was found a good 60km away from the nearest town and due to health issues she was unable to try and walk for help so stayed with her car,” said Wodonga Police Station Sgt. Martin Torpey in a statement following the incident.
“She used great common sense to stay with her car and not wander off into bushland, which assisted in police being able to find her.”
A local police van was directed by the helicopter that was conducting a sweep of the area to her location where she was located alive and well.
Police say Lillian had been attempting to drive to Dartmouth Dam when she hit a dead-end road at the end of Yankee Point Track and realized she had taken a wrong turn. But when she tried to turn around and backtrack to where she came from, her car became stuck in some mud and she was unable to call for help due to lack of mobile phone coverage in the area.
“She was only planning a short-day trip so had only taken a couple of snacks and [candy] with her but no water. The only liquid Lillian, who doesn’t drink, had with her was a bottle of wine she had bought as a gift for her mother so that got her through,” Torpey said.
“While she couldn’t move her car, she was able to use the heater overnight to give her some warmth,” Torpey continued. “After being lost in the bush for five days, she was extremely relieved and grateful to see us and we were just as happy to see her.”
Lillian was treated in hospital for dehydration, and is expected to fully recover.